Global Floods Caused $8 Billion in Economic Losses During March – Aon Catastrophe Report

Damage from flooding in March 2019 is estimated at US$8 billion from events across the globe, according to the latest report from global insurance and reinsurance broker Aon.

Flooding of the Platte River, Nebraska, March 2019. Photo: Office of the Governor, Nebraska

Aon’s “Global Catastrophe Recap – March 2019” said that among the costliest events were those that hit parts of the Midwest of the USA in March, where states including Nebraska and Iowa saw record breaking floods. Aon says that total economic losses were estimated at more than $4 billion, with up to $1 billion in claims.

As well as extensive flooding in the USA, March saw other major severe weather events, said the report. Cyclone Idai left almost 1,100 people dead and caused a humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa. Torrential rainfall during March led to flooding throughout Sao Paulo in Brazil, closing a prominent auto factory due to water intrusion. Heavy rain also swept across Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador.

Weeks of torrential rainfall led to extensive flooding in dozens of Iranian provinces, killing at least 70 people. Total economic losses were unofficially estimated by local government officials at up to IRR150 trillion (USD3.6 billion).

Aon added that Windstorm Eberhard is poised to become the costliest event of the 2018/19 season in Europe.

Michal Lörinc, Senior Catastrophe Analyst at Aon’s Impact Forecasting, said: “The major catastrophe events of March highlighted the continued vulnerabilities which exist in both developed and emerging markets. The multi-billion-dollar impacts from flooding in the United States, Iran, and Cyclone Idai in Southern Africa were each enhanced by infrastructure unable to handle the large scale of water inundation.

“In an increasingly volatile era for weather events and their impacts on a growing exposure, it will be critical that resilience and risk mitigation planning will become more pronounced in the public and private sectors.”

See the full report here (pdf)